Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 25872

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 1/5/2012

RE: competitive Under 15

H. Moore of Houston, TX USA asks...

Situation: Indirect kick is awarded to the Blue team, 40 yards from the Red goal. The referee properly announces and signals the indirect kick; the kick is taken and is headed into the upper corner of the goal. There was no Blue attacker with even a remote chance of playing the ball as it approached the goal. With the refs arm still up, a Red defender (not the GK) at the goal line raises his hand and deflects the ball over the goal line but prevents the ball from entering the goal. A PK was awarded (and stopped by the GK).
Question: Should the CR (a)caution the Red defender for unsporting behavior for the intentionial handling, (b) send off the defender for DOGSO, or (c) proceed with the PK with no misconduct occurring. My choice on the field was 'a' reasoning that because the kick was indirect there was no scoring opportunity but the handling was intentional and blatant even if it only hurt the defender's own team.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

As a goal cannot be scored directly from an indirect free kick so there is no possibility of denying an obvious goal or goal scoring opportunity. The correct decision is to award a penalty kick.
As there was no possibility of anything other than a goal kick being awarded to the defending team IMO a caution is not required.
However if there was a possibility of another outcome such as a rebound, deflection etc to an attacker then a caution would be appropriate for a foul committed for the tactical purpose of interfering with or breaking up a promising attack.
As regards your issue of a caution to the player that is the decision you made on the day in the circumstances. For those that did not know the Law they might expect a dismissal for such a blatant handling on the goal line. The player and team may have been relieved that it was only a caution. The caution I suspect did remind players of the unsporting nature of the action albeit that a goal could not be scored.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

I agree wholeheartedly with Ref McHugh.

Though, I would like to pick up on your reasoning for your decision.

You said that you chose a because 'the handling was intentional and blatant'

As for 'intentional' - we only ever penalise cases of deliberate handling. And in regards to blatant - a lot of people seem to think that really blatant cases of deliberate handling should result in a caution, but this is not so. As such cases only hurt that player's own team and no opponent has been put at risk (as would be the case for other blatant fouls), there's really no need to caution a player for blatantly and deliberately handling the ball.

The only times when we should look at cautioning a player are when he's looking to gain a big tactical advantage by doing so - such as deliberately handling to break up an attack, deliberately handling the ball to score a goal, or attempting to deny an obvious goal or goalscoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball (but not succeeding in doing so - but use your judgement; the card is not mandatory here)

Read other questions answered by Referee Jason Wright

View Referee Jason Wright profile

Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

The question for a sendoff by handling is simple: but for the handling would a goal have been scored. In this case, the answer is no. A goal cannot be scored directly on a direct free kick. Had there been no handling, the restart would have been a goal kick.

This does not mean, however that the defender should not be cautioned for the deliberate, tactical handling of the ball. (Although his coach likely will have his own punishment in mind because the defender gave away a penalty kick.) It does not mean that the defender shouldn't receive a lecture, with a reminder that the defender is very lucky not to be sent off.

Read other questions answered by Referee Dennis Wickham

View Referee Dennis Wickham profile

Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

Since an indirect free kick was directly going into the goal, there can be no DOGSO.
Did the Red defender gain a tactical advantage or break up an attack? No. You may still caution for USB but IMO just a lecture and a PK will do.

Read other questions answered by Referee Keith Contarino

View Referee Keith Contarino profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 25872
Read other Q & A regarding Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct

The following questions were asked as a follow up to the above question...

See Question: 25886

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.